Why have them?

WallWhy have laws when there is no will to enforce them? You can make that statement about a few things in our country. But I am talking bylaws today. Not enforcing them, I truly believe, is the biggest contributor to our urban chaos.

Browse through the bylaws BBMP put up on its website a while ago. Nice wish list. I mean if each and every clause in there was enforced or followed, Bangalore’d be a heavenly city.

I will let you browse through and pick your favorite ‘laws’ from the document, but here here are my pet ones:

  • (Section 18.1 – Basements) Basement floors shall not be used for purposes other than parking and for locating machines used for service and utilities of buildings.
    • Ho ho ho! I bet you know at least a hundred places that absolutely follow this.
  • (16.0 – Parking) Kalyana Mandiras – 1 car park per 10 sq.mtr. of floor area.
    • I bet 70% of Mantapas don’t obey this
  • (Parking again) Multiplex – 1 car park per 15 seats and minimum 10 spots.
    • Is that enough? No! Even then, you have places like Innovative that uses ORR as its parking lot!
  • (20.8 – Boundary walls) the maximum height of the front and side boundary wall shall be 1.5 mts. above the ground level
    • That is about 5 feet. Look around your house and figure.
  • (3.11.1) Temporary shed to be used as construction shed may be permitted in that plot (excluding public land) … and … shall be removed immediately after the completion of the work.
    • when was the last time you saw sand and bricks on your street?

Anyways, no point going on and on. I am not in government or citizen (self) bashing mode here. The point is, more than a problem, it is a ‘situation’.

  1. There probably are some impractical things in there (width of stair cases, minimum sizes for kitchen and bathrooms, why?), may be the idea is to make a criminal out of every Bangalorean!
  2. Then there are some vague recommendations (like construction will not be allowed if the area is not properly drained – what is properly here?) – possibly good source points for corruption.
  3. To repeat myself for the nth time, there isn’t any serious efforts enforce even the most simple of these bye-laws.
  4. And last, and most important, there is little awareness around this detailed document.

When the most basic construction and planning activity is not taken seriously by either citizens or local government, cities usually get to go to bhagwaan bharose state. For last 7-8 years or so, Bangalore has been trying its best to get there :)

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